Illinois Supreme Court Overturns $43 Million Judgment in Wrongful Death Case

On November 22, 2011, the state high court reversed a $43 million jury verdict which was returned in Madison County, Illinois.  in 2003, John and Dora Jablonski weere driving a 1993 Lincoln Town car when they came to a stop on Interstate 270 in a construction zone in Madison County.  They were rear ended by another driver, and the Jablonski's vehicle burst into flames.  John Jablonski died, and his wife suffered burns on one third of her body.  Dora Jablonski and the Estate of John Jablonski filed a product liability suit against Ford Motor Company, arguing that the manufacturer was negligent in the positioning of the gas tank.  A jury awared $5 million to the estate, $23.1 million to Dora Jablonski and $15 million in punitive damages.  The high court reversed, reasoning that the plaintiffs did not provide sufficient evidence for the jury to conclude that Ford was negligent.